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Manufacturing Eases for First Time Since 2020

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Global manufacturing declined last month for the first time since June 2020, as companies continue to grapple with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, in addition to lingering supply chain and workforce challenges.

The J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI — a composite index produced by J.P.Morgan and S&P Global — fell to 49.8 in September, down from 50.3 in August. It is the first time the headline PMI posted below the neutral 50 mark since June 2020.

The index for future output continued to signal positive (and likely cautious) expectations for the next six months, albeit at the weakest reading since May 2020, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

While marine manufacturers still have strong order books, there are signs of a potential downturn next year, according to Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin.

“Besides the macroeconomic concerns upon which everyone focuses, there are several industry-specific signs of a potential downturn,” Yeargin told Trade Only Today. “In addition to year-over-year declines in the sales of every boating segment, web analytics indicate a downturn in the number of people searching for information about buying a new boat.”

Truist Securities lowered estimates for most marine stocks, with analyst Michael Swartz citing incremental risk stemming from ongoing softness in certain high-volume categories, including pontoons and aluminum fishing boats.

“From a near-term demand and sentiment standpoint, the October 2022 dealer survey was the most depressed since 2017,” Swartz said in a note to investors. “That said, we were somewhat surprised that sentiment held relatively stable from June, despite widespread macro/consumer uncertainty, rising interest rates and broader inflationary pressures.”

Yeargin said that as a potential downturn approaches, smart companies are being careful with capital allocation and adding new fixed costs. They are also being careful about continued production increases.

“Boating manufacturers can be lulled to lack of action because of low dealer inventories but should be careful to look out ahead and ensure their production levels are properly set for this environment,” Yeargin said. “The increase in the value of the dollar is creating challenges in global markets as U.S.-produced boats become more expensive. Smart leaders are working to keep their foot on the gas pedal while also thinking about the brake.”

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